Craig and Emma Freeman
...because that's what you do when when you can't find the thing you're looking for right? Or rather that's what I thought only other people did because they know what they're doing, or are braver, or have more confidence than me.
I've lived in Reigate for 15 years, apart from a recent short spell working in South Africa with my husband. When we came back to Reigate in January 2016 so much seemed familiar, but in reality everything had changed. Now I had a 6 month old daughter along for the amazing journey and my needs and hers were completely different to my old life.
I had no idea and so I began the laborious process of scouring the internet and gathering endless leaflets for baby groups and activities, guessing at what she might enjoy and then just trying them out one by one by one.
The best nuggets of information were often from far too brief conversations with other mums between renditions of head, shoulders knees and toes and wind the bobbin up. And what about finding any additional support beyond the groups themselves? It felt like there was no community cohesion, no way in and I thought that there must be a better way.
And so the idea for Find My Reigate came about. If I was doing all this hard work then the least I could do was share what I found with other families asking the same questions.
So here I am. Mum of one, outdoor enthusiast and self confessed late adopter. Lover of breakfasts (especially coffee), good stationery and flip flops.
It turns out that if you can be just brave enough and tell just one person who doesn’t laugh at your idea then maybe you have found something. I was lucky to find the people who could help realise this project when I was just brave enough to share an idea for a local community parenting website with another family who were also new to the area struggling to find the information they wanted. It turns out they were thinking exactly the same thing. It turns out they were full of ideas and had all the technical ability and know how to get the project started. Together we started thinking and planning.
Because it's flipping difficult to do this on your own and we shouldn't have to.
We moved to the area from London with a toddler and a brand new baby, the timing was not the best. The summer holidays stretched out ahead with baby groups shut down and no preschool.
I liken meeting new mummies to blind dating; An unfamiliar venue, a brief chat (with a crying baby on your hip and a toddler clinging to your leg), and then the awkward attempt to get the phone number of the people you click with, to make sure you see them again.
I found it difficult to find the local groups of the area listed in one user friendly place and have gradually gathered this information through a lot of research and word of mouth. When you spend your day dealing with tantrums, failed naps, teething babies and endless nappy changes there needs to be a quick, easy and inspiring way of getting you all out of the house and entertained for the day. That is what we hope to create in Find My Reigate.
I have managed to meet some lovely mums and their children over the last couple of months but I have had to really push myself out of my comfort zone to do so.
Working within digital marketing means my first port of call is usually to go online. Just before we moved to Reigate I had tried to find a company, website, online community group or charity that provided a comprehensive list of what there is to do for families in the local area.
Therefore when my wife mentioned that a mum she had met at a baby group had an idea for an online resource for parents I was immediately interested.
I have discovered though through experience that when you discover an idea that you feel should already exist, that you do not miss the opportunity to get involved.